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|iE VV^ONDERS Of THREAD
A Gift off textiles
ffrom the Coiiection off
The Wonders of Thread
A GIFT OF TEXTILES FROM
THE COLLECTION OF ELIZABETH GORDON
Exhibition Deceuiher 12, 1964
.^^^]^\THS0 / : through February 23, ig6$
m 5W ))
Cooper Union Museum Third Avenue at Seventh Street, New York
The printing of this catalogue has been
made possible through the generosity oj members
of the Needle and Bobbin Club.
Cover: Detail of red crocus, No. io
Copyright © 1964 by the Cooper Union Mnseu,
An interest in the multitudinous ways that thread can be manipulated is almost as reward-
ing as an interest in food. But textiles have an edge. They are as consumable as food but,
unlike food, they can be preserved intact so they can be sampled again and again for years.
You use textiles in all aspects of life. You wear them, or sleep under them. You hang
them on the wall as ornament, or use them to temper the light from windows. You walk
on them, sit on them, wipe your lips with them at nreal time.
They can be mundane (as everyone knows) but they can also be electric in the way
they can stimulate you — intellectually, emotionally, tactily. Becoming aware of textiles
as more than mundane necessities can add a whole new dimension to your daily life. To
pursue the better versions in the many categories is fun and aesthetically rewarding.
Quite apart from the pleasures that derive from daily use, there are other pleasures
that accrue from the way they can open up your cultural understanding. When you get
really interested in textiles, you start noticing how differently different cultures manipu-
late thread and color. From the textiles of a country (or ethnic region or historical epoch)
you can deduce the kind and type of civilization that produced them. This is why historians
rank textiles, as illuminating instruments, alongside the written documents of a culture.
Even in contemporary times, the currently-produced textiles of a country can be
expressive of a yeastiness of growth and development not being recorded by political
news or social commentary. They are excellent indicators of the metabolic health of the
technical and artistic aspects of a society.
I hope that this small part of my collection, shown here, will give you the impetus
to start investigating this area of life for yourself. Even though it is generally ignored by
art critics and art scholars, this makes it more fun for you to forge ahead. For you will
not meet with an "Establishment" which has already written the rules about who is IN
and who is OUT. Nothing but your own good sense and artistic awareness need be your
The gift by Elizabeth Gordon of textiles from her collection is of significant interest to
the Museum, for it includes excellent works in areas in which the Museum's collections
have needed the addition of strong examples.
In a visually exciting group of weaving and needlework of the 20th century the debt
of today's artists to the technology of other times is apparent. But more important, the
special expression of the style of our own time is here represented by innovations in ma-
terial, by color choices, by arrangements of spatial distribution, by scale and, in a number
of cases, by the creation of textiles as a pure art form.
The textiles in another group, primarily Japanese and from various periods, stress
technical refinement. Evident in most of these examples is the elegant understatement, so
coveted by the Japanese people, where design, technique and texture have been consciously
concealed only in order to be discovered by the discerning.
The sensibilities of Elizabeth Gordon have been touched both by skill of technique
and by artistry of design in the production of textiles. She has responded to the appeal of
superior craftsmanship and of artistic merit by acquiring these textiles for her own enjoy-
ment. It is the pleasure of the Museum now to be able to show these works to the public
as a result of Elizabeth Gordon's generous wish to share them.
Catalogue of the Exhibition
EVA ANTTILA (FinhiicJ)
1. Hanging, Finnish forest
Wool and novelty yam, tapestry weave in shades of
brown and other colors. 1953. ig64-24-43
2. Hanging, thumbeline
Wool, synthetic fibers and novelty yam, tapestry weave
in pale shades of blue, violet and green with additional
colors. 1948. ig64-24-46
3. Hanging, PROFILES*
Wool, synthetic hbers and novelty yam, tapestry weave
in white, red, pink, green, violet and other colors. 1952.
ig6 4-2 4-47
4. Hanging, evening
Wool and novelty yarn, tapestry weave in violet, pink,
yellow, blue, orange, grey and brown. 1949.
5. Hanging, flowered cliff
Wool and novelty yarn, tapestry weave in green, violet,
pink, blue, yellow, brown, orange and white. 195 1.
6. Hanging, the white veil
Wool and synthetic fibers, tapestry weave in pale shades
of pink, blue, orange and brown. 1950. 1^64-24-83
HELEN ENGELBERT (Norway)
7. Table runner*
Linen damask in yellow, grey and white. 1950-1960.
8. Tray cloth
Linen damask in grey and wliite. 1950-1960.
MARTA MAAS FJETTERSTROM (Sweden)
Various colored wools in tapestry weave. 1937.
ANN-MARI FORSBERG (Sweden)
10. Hanging, red CROCUS*
Wool and linen, tapestry weave in red, violet, wliite,
green, orange, grey and brown. 1950-1960. 1964-24-41
VIOLA GRASTEN (Sweden)
II. Hanging, TWO ships*
Wool and linen, slit tapestry weave in red, dark blue,
yellow, pink and shades of grey. 1951. 1964-24-50
DORA JUNG (Fiiihiid)
12. Hanging, doves
Linen damask in grey, white, and spotted areas in various
colors. About 1958. 1964-24-34
13. Table cloth and napkin
Linen damask in dark and light brown. About 1956.
1964-24-33 A andB
14. Table mat
Linen damask in black and grey. About 1954.
15. Table cloth and napkin
Linen damask in black and grey. About 1956.
1964-24-37 A andB
.^''■■■v'^" Z'i" . ";!' '' ^ '
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1 6. Table mat aiid napkin
Linen damask in cream color and white. About 1950.
1964-24-^$ A and B
17. Tray cloth, birds*
Linen damask in white and light brown. About 1947.
18. Tray cloth, GIRLS and cats
Linen damask in white and light brown. About 1947-
MARISKA KARASZ (United States)
19. Hanging, fields from the air
Natural color hncn, embroidered with wools and other
heavy yarns, in shades of green, brown, grey and white;
abstract pattern of leaves. 1950-1953. 1964-24-^9
20. Hanging, composition in squares
Grey-green linen, embroidered in various colored yarns,
string, cord and couched tape, in wliite and pale shades
of yellow, green and orange. 1950-1953. 1964-24-^6
2t. Hooked rug, companion piece to number 20,
composition in squares, repeating pattern and color
scheme. Made by Edward Fields. 1950-1953.
196 4-2 4- J 7
22. Panel, calla lily*
Cream color silk embroidered in cotton, silk and wool
yarns of various weights, in white and shades of yellow,
green, brown and grey. 195 1. 1964-24-38
23. Hanging, exercise in abstraction
Brown hnen embroidered in wools and metaUic and
other threads, in shades of brown, red, green and grey;
geometric pattern. 1950-1953. 1964-24-40
Light blue cotton, the ends embroidered with various
yams, in shades of blue, brown and white ; pattern of
freely designed feathers. 1953. 1964-3^-12
Pale blue wool and silk, embroidered m wool, chenille
and metal in hght shades of green, blue, grey and wliite;
abstract pattern incorporating letters in white, Eliza-
beth; in corner, love mk. L954. 1964-35-13
26. Pillow cover
Blue linen, embroidered in white string in pattern of cir-
cular loops. Fringed on four sides. 1952. 1964-33-10
27. Pillow cover
Blue linen, embroidered in light blue and white string in
net effect. Fringed on four sides. 1952. 1964-35-9
28. Panel, feathers
Linen einbroidered in various colored wools ; freely de-
signed feather pattern. 1952. 1964-35-14
29. Place mat and napkin
Brown hnen embroidered in wliite cotton and linen;
wheat motif. L952. 1964-35-16 Amid B
30. Place mat
Cream color linen, apphque pattern of green, gold and
red braid and corner squares worked with metallic thread
of green and red. Napkin of natural color linen, with
similar corner design in squares. 1952.
1964-35-19 A and B
31. Place mat
Light brown silk, with applied twist of straw, wound
with gold, in meandering pattern, and edged with gold
braid. 1952. 1964-35-20
32. Place mat
Grey Italian straw, with couched silver cord in meander-
ing pattern; design of circles enclosing stars. 1952.
33. Place mat
Brown cotton, with applied design in wliite shell pattern,
and worked in white and brown cotton. Napkin of white
cotton embroidered in shell motif in brown. 1952.
1964-35-lS A and B
34. Place mat
Brown cotton with applied border ot white cotton,
stitched on with brown cotton thread. 1952.
35. Place mat
Yellow linen with applique pattern in colors, offish and
patches, loosely embroidered over with colored and
metallic cords. 1952. 1964-35-15
36. 37. Panels, minnows in a net
Natural color linen with applique pattern oi iisli and
patches of various materials in colors; embroidered
loosely over this design with colored yarns and string to
simulate a net. 1952. Jp6'?-J.')-7 and -S
Brown fdet decorated at bottom with design of min-
nows IN A net; apphque pattern of fish in various
colors, embroidered over in a loose stitch to simulate a
net. 1953. ig64-3S-6
39. In 1952, at the office of House Beautiful, Mariska
Karasz demonstrated her ability to guide a group of
people completely untrained with the needle to a quick
comprehension of creative embroidery and its pleasure.
Using unconventional threads and materials, and empha-
sizing freedom and the production of textural effects, her
pupils in tliis experiment produced, on the theme of
"The Fish," some of the examples shown here.
ig64-44-i through -6
EVA KOHLMARK (Sweden)
40. Round pillow cover, dillkrona (Dili)*
White linen, embroidered in wliite and shades of green
and grey; pattern of open flower head. 1950-1960.
ANN-MARI KORNERUP (Denmark)
41. Hanging, grandmother and children with
Wool, slit tapestry weave in shades of red, orange, pink,
violet, grey, brown and green. 1950-1960. ig&4-24-%i
EDNA MARTIN (Sweden)
42. Round pillow cover, SOLROS (Sunflower)*
Linen, deep cream color, embroidered in shades of grey,
orange and wliite; wheel pattern. 1950-1960.
43. Square piUow cover, SALAMI
Linen, deep cream color, with centre panel of dark green
linen ; embroidered in white and shades of yellow, pink
and grey ; pattern of diamonds and styhzed flower sprays.
44. Four samples of upholstery material
Linen, wool, cotton and novelty yarn in satin and tapestry
weaves. 1958-1963. 1964-3^36 through -39
45. Six samples of material for screen or wall covering
Wool, Hnen, synthetic fibers, glass, aluminum, copper,
straw and wire. 1958-1963. 1964-3S-40 through -45*
BARBRO NILSSON (Sweden)
46. Hanging, yellow ovoids
Wool in tapestry weave, in ycUow, white, grey and
green. 1950-1960. 1964-24-42
No. 4S (detail)
No. 57 (detail)
47. Rug sample, yellow ovoids* 52. Square pillow
Wool and linen, tapestry weave in yeUow, white, grey Grey cotton, machine embroidered in black, wliite, grey
and green. 1950-1960. 1^64-24-43 and light brown; abstract design. 1962. ig64-3y^
MARIANNE RICHTER (Sweden)
4>S. Hangmg, motley birds*
Wool, slit tapestry weave in various colors. About i960.
FRANCES ROBINSON (Umted States)
Black silk, machine embroidered in wliite, pale blue,
brown and purple; abstract design of circles, ovals, and
oblong shapes. 1962. jp(J.j_j5_j
50. Place mat
Pale blue linen, applique border, machine embroidered
in colors. 1962. 1964-^^,-4
5 1 . Round pillow
Cotton, applique pattern, machine embroidered in vari-
ous colors. 1962. ig 6^- :;:;.:;
ASTRID SAMPE (Sweden)
53. Place mat or napkin, LINNEA
Linen damask in white and cream color. About i960.
Wliite linen damask. About i960. 1964-24-^4 A and B
55. Place mats with designs from medieval Sv/edish
seals; woven for the Swedish Pavihon at the New York
World's Fair, 1964. Linen damask in light brown and
white. 1963-1964. ig64-24-3s A* through D
56. Table cloth and napkin
Linen damask in yellow and white. About 1956.
1964-24-63 A and B
KIRSTEN STRAND (Norway)
57. Table mat*
Dark blue linen embroidered
colored hncns. About 1964.
itli black and various
LENORE TAWNEY (United States)
58. Hanging, spring thaw*
Linen, wool and goat's hair; tapestry weave in white and
light shades of purple, blue and green. 1959-1960.
59. Hanging, vitae
Linen, wool and silk; open weave construction in white
and shades of grey and light brown. 1959-1960.
60. Hanging, reflections
Linen, wool and rayon; tapestry weave in brilliant shades
of red. 1959-1960. 1964-24-66
61. Demonstration piece
Linen, wool and silk ; open weave construction in various
colors. 1960. 1964-24-67
62. Demonstration piece
Linen, silk and wool ; open weave construction in various
colors, i960. 1964-24-68
White linen, embroidered in colored wools; design of
tree with bird and dog; pins as part of pattern. Denmark.
With one exception, these are Japanese.
64. Lengths of materials for use in ynkatas
Cotton, in dark blue, dark brown and white. 1950-1960.
1964-24-11 through -13
65. Lengths of materials for use in ynkatas
Synthetic fibers and cotton, tabby weave, one black, one
white. 1950-1960. 1964-24-14 and -24
66. Length for kimono
Silk, tabby weave, in shades of brown. 1950-1960.
67. Kimono sleeve fragments
Silk and metal, embroidered and tie-dyed. 17th and 1 8th
century. 1^64-24-1 and -y
68. Fragment of if//»o;w
Silk, natural dyes, ribbed; pattern achieved by pressing
silk against wild grass and wood grain. 1950-1960.
69. Lengths of materials for use in obis
Silk and metal, twill weave and brocading. Late 19th and
30th century. 1964-24-17, -18, -26, -27
70. Group of panels, made from obi materials
Silk and metal, tabby weave and brocading. Late 19th-
carly 20th century. 1964-24-19 through -23
Silk and metal, twill weave, in white, pale green and gold.
Late iSth century. 1964-24-S
72. Priest's robe
Silk and metal, satin weave, in shades of apricot, blue,
yellow and green ; brocaded in gold. Late I Sth-early 1 9th
73 . Material for zabiiton (floor cushions)
Raw silk, tabby weave, in gradations of violet. 1950-
Synthetic fibers and metal, tabby weave with brocaded
signature. 1950-1960. 1964-24-^1
75. Hanging, warriors
Silk and metal, k'o-ssii (slit tapestry). China, 20th century.
76. Hanging, mount Fuji and dragons
Embroidered in silk; couching and laid work, 19th
77. Book, THE JAPANESE ART OF KUSAKI-ZOME NIPPON
By Akira Yamazaki; publ. Getumei-Kai, Kamakura,
Japan. 1959. 1964-24-2
78. Book, NIPPON HAND WEAVES IN KUSAKI-ZOME
By Akira Yamazaki; publ. Getumei-Kai, Kawasaki,
Japan. 1959. 1964-24-3
Photography by George D. Coiudery, New York
Printed by Clarke & Way, Inc., New York
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